120730CockburnJuly 30, 2012

Death noted: Radical-left polemicist Alexander Cockburn, who as early as 1990 was raging against claims of satanic ritual abuse.

Cockburn gave particular attention to feminism’s role in the mania:

“In the coalition powering the satanic abuse persecutions,” he recalled in a 1999 column in The Nation, “feminists constituted a powerful component, most conspicuously in the form of Gloria Steinem and Ms. magazine.

“How did feminism, a movement that grew out of the radical passions of the 1960s, navigate itself into this demonic alliance? Charges of perverse abuse of children seemed an inviting line of attack in the larger onslaught on patriarchy, sexual violence and harassment. Social workers and therapists – many of them feminists – became the investigators and effective prosecutors.”

Cockburn oversimplified, as was his way, but it’s no stretch to see how feminism fed into not only ritual abuse, but also the sister hoaxes of recovered memory syndrome and multiple personality disorder.